More than 500 BMX riders from eight states are expected to compete for points this weekend to qualify for state races later this year.
The Warnicke Double Point Race will be held Friday at the BMX track in Robbinsdale Park. A triple point qualifier will be held Saturday with races beginning at about 2 p.m. The action continues Sunday morning with a triple gold cup qualifier.
Thanks to a Vision Fund grant from the city, and hard work from dozens of volunteers who support the track's activities, the big race weekend will feature new bleachers and a new sound system. Rapid City BMX also installed some shade over the new bleachers to keep fans comfortable.
Chris Blair said this weekend's races will be very competitive, but the local BMX track is about more than competition.
"It is a family sport," Blair said. "All of the members of the family can race together and have fun."
Racers as young as 2 compete in age and ability defined divisions.
One racer who comes to the park twice a week to race is Maurice "Mo" Miller. Miller is 54 years old and he started racing BMX bikes in 1976.
"The camaraderie here makes it fun," Miller said. "Back when I started, it was only kids who raced. Now moms and dads race with their children."
You have free articles remaining.
Miller said he believes the the sport being added to the Olympics has had a big effect on the number of participants in the sport. He said he considers himself an evangelist for the sport.
"In all the years I have tried to get people to ride, I think I convinced one," he said. "But I keep trying."
Miller said you don't have to have a $1,000 bike to get started. Blair agreed. He said riders could ride any bike on the course, and they even have some equipment available for those who want to give the sport a try.
The only rules for equipment include long sleeves, pants and a helmet.
"We had a girl here last year riding her dad's 1980 Huffy," Blair said. "It is just about having fun."
Miller said beyond the fun, the sport is a great workout.
"It is exercise that doesn't feel like exercise," he said. "I would never jog or go to a gym, but I love riding my bike out here."